Email this review


 That nudge-nudge wink-wink title should clue you in to a tongue-in-cheek mystery. Make that scroll-in-cheek. During a 1996 dig in the Valley of the Kings, a professor of Egyptology comes into possession of some large and almost perfectly preserved scrolls. As he writes in the introduction to his vernacular translation of the first one: ``You are about to read the first detective story in the history of the world.'' The scroll's first- person narrator is Eye, Grand Vizier of Thebes, who is given a possibly dangerous assignment by his 18-year-old grandson, the god- pharaoh Tutankhamen. Eye is ordered to discover--in just seven days--who killed Tut's father, the wicked pharaoh Akhenaten, eight years ago. There are, it seems, plenty of suspects. Was it the beautiful Nefertiti, Eye's daughter and Tut's mother? Physician Yuti? High Priest Aanen? General of the Infantry Horemeb? Tut's wife Ankhesenamun? Tut himself? In traditional private-detective style, Eye sandshoes from one suspect to another. But on the seventh day he has to serve a munificent banquet to the elite of Thebes and reveal to his king whodunit. Eye finds himself in the infamous rock-hard place, of course, but he's a survivor. . . . With out-of-place sprinklings of contemporary slang (``shmuck'' is one of the cleaner expressions), an offbeat debut that will probably strike readers as either a clever hoot or way too coy. The ending sets up the possible ``translation'' of a second scroll.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14274-9
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1996